Date Archives: August 2016

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August
26

Your credit score is one of the most important considerations in the home-buying process, determining not only the approval of a mortgage, but also the rate attached to it. As a first-time homebuyer, you may be wondering what the ideal score is. A recent update from the Ellie Mae Millennial Tracker™ may shed some light on the answer. According to the Tracker, the average FICO score of a millennial borrower who closed on a home loan this summer was 723; the average FICO score of a millennial borrower who closed on a conventional loan, however, was 748. The average FICO score of a millennial borrower who closed on an FHA loan this summer was lower, at 691. The majority of millennials in Ellie Mae's Tracker obtained a conventional loan. "Economic uncertainty may be contributing to a general tightening of credit, which could explain why we are seeing a slight uptick in the average FICO scores for closed loans to millennials," said Joe Tyrrell, executive vice president of Corporate Strategy at Ellie Mae, in a statement. "We also continue to see FHA loans play a significant role in helping millennials make their homeownership dreams a reality. These types of loans make up 37 percent of all closed loans to this generation, compared to just 23 percent of closed loans across all generations of homebuyers." FHA loans averaged 45 days to close this summer, according to the Tracker; conventional loans averaged one day less, at 44. Source: Ellie Mae Published with permission from RISMedia.
August
18

Buying your first home is an exciting milestone, one marked with a fear of the unknown and a level of excitement at what's to come. And for many first-time buyers, a starter home is a great investment. A starter home is perfect for those who want the independence of living in their own home, but don't quite have the money to buy their dream house. Starter homes are also great for establishing credit, getting a feel for homeownership and trying out a neighborhood or city to see if it's a good fit. Plus, you probably don't need too much space at the moment, so starter homes offer a great place to settle in with a young family. As families grow and careers take off, real estate professionals note that homeowners typically stay starter homes anywhere between five to seven years. If you're ready to get your feet wet and purchase a home, here are some tips to keep in mind as you search for the perfect starter home. 1. Be Practical. There's a reason they refer to your first home as a starter home, so make sure you don't spend more than you can afford. And, remember that many starter homes need some work, so you're more than likely going to need money to cover any renovations you'd like to tackle. Before you begin looking at homes, put together a sound budget so that you know exactly what you can afford. Also, keep in mind that things change over time, including jobs and children, so be sure to factor in future expenses as best possible. 2. Understand Problems. Many starter homes need work, and unless you're a fan of tackling projects on your own, you might not be equipped to handle all the work that may come with the home. If you're not interested in putting in a lot work, look for a smaller house that doesn't need as much TLC. 3. Consider Location. If you happen to stumble upon a good deal, make sure the location will work for you and your family before making an offer. While a lower price tag can be enticing, be sure to consider the amount of time it will take to get to your job, and how far the property is from your family and friends. The last thing you want to do is get trapped in a home you'll grow to resent. Remember, with every mortgage payment you make, you're building equity, and that'll help when it comes to future home purchases. Keep in mind that some people fall so in love with their starter home that they decide to make it their forever home. For more tips on purchasing your first home, contact our office today. By Keith Loria  

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2016. All rights reserved.

August
15

Staging your home while it's on the market is one of the most effective ways to sell it for top dollar. Start by addressing natural light, say the experts at Stagetecture.com. Ample natural light makes the home appear larger and inviting. Avoid minimizing natural light with heavy window treatments—instead, hang sheers, and open them during showings. Next, look to the outside of the home. Does the property have appeal? Hang mirrors across from the windows to accentuate scene-stealing views. Inside the home, assess the color palette. Are the walls dark and closed-in? Consider repainting them with lighter colors to brighten the interior, Stagetecture.com's experts recommend. Above all, remember these three key tips: Don't leave clutter in plain sight. Make it easy for buyers to visualize their lives in your home. Tackle the noticeable areas, like counters and tables. Are there other areas, such as an entry closet doubling as general storage, that should be tended to, too? If there is an overabundance of personal items in your home, consider paring down. Avoid staging with items that date the home. Stage with contemporary styling. Remove old or worn furniture, pack away collectibles from earlier eras and hide décor that convey a sense of the home's age. Don't fill rooms with furniture. It is tempting to fill each room with furniture when staging it, but too many pieces can make the space feel crowded. Work toward creating a sense of purpose for the room while maintaining an open-concept look. Published with permission from RISMedia.
August
12

If a home purchase is in your future, one thing you absolutely have to think about is your credit score. No matter what your timing looks like, it's a good idea to think about it sooner rather than later, because having a good credit score can be the difference between obtaining the mortgage you need to buy your dream home—or settling for less because you didn't qualify for the money you need. Unfortunately, many prospective buyers don't think about their credit score until they're already in buying mode. And more often than not, at this point, it may be too late to do anything to fix your credit score. Therefore, it's important to remember that if you have a bad credit score, it's not something that can be fixed overnight or by simply making a phone call. If you're not sure where you even stand on the credit score spectrum, the first thing you'll want to do is obtain a copy of your credit report. Your report will list all the details that were used to calculate your score, including past payment information concerning loans, credit cards and other bills. According to the Federal Trade Commission, nearly five percent of consumers have a major error on their credit reports, and approximately 25 percent of all reports have some sort of error that can negatively affect a score. Once you receive your credit report, look it over and make sure there are no errors or discrepancies. For instance, if there's an entry for an outstanding bill on a credit card or a late payment on a car loan that's incorrect, you'll want to take action quickly, as these items will lower your credit score. Be sure to dispute any errors you find with the Credit Bureau. If there are no mistakes within your report, and your score isn't where you want it to be, there are a number of things that can be done to gradually increase your number. To start, make a list of the money you owe and start paying off any debts you may have incurred over the years. Eliminating debt is the best way to see your score rise. Also, be sure to pay everything on time path forward. Late payments are seen as a huge negative when it comes to your credit report and overall score. You'll also want to refrain from opening any new accounts or taking out other loans, as this will simply add to the problem. Be sure to stay away from closing accounts that you have a strong history with as well. By closing accounts, you run the risk of eliminating a good payment record. And last but not least, beware that debts that get sent to a collection agency typically stay on your report for years. While most people think paying these items off will cause them to vanish from their credit report, it's simply not true. If you feel that all hope is lost, there are agencies out there that you can pay to help you improve your report and remove negative items. Before you go this route, think about the expense you'll be incurring, and whether it's worth it in the long run. Checking your credit score is something you should think about doing annually regardless of whether you're planning to move or not. By keeping up to date with your report, your credit score will be solid when you're ready to buy your next home. To learn more about understanding your credit score, contact our office today.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2016. All rights reserved.

By Keith Loria

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